O'Neill benched again

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Coach Pat Quinn might be tempting fate benching a fellow Irishman so close to St. Patrick's Day.

But he made the call to sit winger Jeff O'Neill last evening for a second consecutive game. For the previous three contests, Quinn had moved one different player into the lineup and it paid off with five of a possible six points. O'Neill, who has 30 points, but is a team-worst minus-19, now has sat consecutive games for the second time this year as Toronto didn't make a single lineup change last night and won. Marlie call-up Jean-Sebastien Aubin was in uniform, backing up Mikael Tellqvist as Ed Belfour deals with what's believed to be a wonky back.

"Telly was big when he had to be and we need to keep doing that," Quinn said after the 5-4 shootout win .

The play of Ben Ondrus the past three games has convinced Quinn not to tinker where the rookie winger is concerned.

"There was a lot of energy in that line (Ondrus-Tie Domi-Clarke Wilm) and it had an effect as the game went on," Quinn said. "More people got involved."

WATCHING AND WAITING

The Leafs must be developing cricks in their necks trying watch the out-of-town scoreboard during stoppages in play at the Air Canada Centre and on the road.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders were involved last night in respective games and when the Leafs are in Buffalo on Thursday, they'll be monitoring Boston at Ottawa and the big game, the Islanders at Atlanta.

"It's a personal thing," Quinn said the other day. "Some guys watch it all the time, some don't pay attention. We have to be aware of what's going on. But if it's something that's not working in our favour, we can't let it be a distraction. Scoreboard watching doesn't help you do fundamentals on the ice."

Captain Mats Sundin says he won't look.

"There is so much left of the season that it makes no sense," he said. "We'll play our game out each night and then watch.

Sundin, who won 25 of 39 faceoffs last night, joked that a visor might have helped him avoid getting a bad cut on the nose from a high stick in the dying minutes of the game. But he cleaned up the blood and returned. The visor will stay off.


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